And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty…And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (Revelation 16:13-14, 16)
The Stage is Being Set for Russian Invasion of Israel
By Rick Brinegar
Jerusalem is surrounded by a hostile war machine on every side. The Islamic nations, which encircle Israel, are experiencing unprecedented instability and upheaval. While the ‘Arab Spring’ has failed to produce democratic reforms, violence against other religions and hatred toward Israel has only increased.
Libya is in chaos, overtaken by Islamists and Sharia law. A bloody war between Muslim sects persists in Syria. While Hamas fires rockets into Israel from Gaza and Hezbollah menaces Israel from southern Lebanon, Iran is fiercely building nuclear weapons to “wipe Israel off the map”. It is very evident that a major war is being kindled between Israel and her Muslim adversaries.
Surrounded by Enemies
The prophet Ezekiel, in addition to Jesus, said that Israel would be surrounded by her enemies:
“And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords…
After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.” (Ezekiel 38:3-4, 8)
Ezekiel contains one of the most remarkable prophecies in the Bible. Almost 2,600 years ago, Ezekiel foretold that, at the end of the age, Russia would lead an alliance of nations against Israel. At the time Ezekiel prophesied, the only people living in what is now Russia were primitive tribesmen. As late as the mid-1500’s, the only ones predicting Russia would ever be powerful enough to invade Israel were Bible-believing Protestants. Scofield, for example, noted, “That the primary reference is to the northern [European] powers, headed up by Russia, all agree…”
Gog and Magog
The terms ‘Gog’ and ‘Magog’ are terms generally used in the Bible to identify evil forces opposed to God. The Greeks referred to Magog as the Scythians, who lived in the northern regions above the Caucasus Mountains. Josephus, the second-century Roman historian, wrote that the descendants of Noah, “After they were dispersed abroad, on account of their languages, and went out by colonies everywhere; and each colony took possession of that land unto which God led them…Magog founded those that from him were named Magogites, but who are by the Greeks called Scythians.” Today we understand that to be prophetically specific, ‘Gog’ is the leader of the Russian invasion of Israel, and ‘Magog’, ‘Tubal’ and ‘Meshech’ are actually modern-day Russia. Tubal and Meshech were sons of Japheth who settled south of the Black Sea. It is generally understood that the name ‘Moscow’ is derived from the tribal name, ‘Meshech’.
Russian Bear Leads Attacks
Ezekiel describes a future attack on Israel by Gog and Magog (Russia), and the mainly Islamic countries of Persia (Iran, portions of northern Iraq and Afghanistan), Cush (Ethiopia and Sudan), Put (Libya, possibly Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco), Gomer (Eastern Europe) and the House of Togarmah (Turkey and Armenia). Turkey has been, until recently, an ally of Israel. But today, Islam has again become an increasing influence there.
In the fourth verse of Ezekiel, chapter 38, it appears that God is not only going to allow Russia to build a great army, but He also says that He will “turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army…” It is as if God is going to put a bridle into the mouth of the Russian Bear and bring Russia down to attack Israel. It appears also, that God may actually allow the evil thought to come to mind of the Russian ruler to destroy Israel:
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought…” (Ezekiel 38:10)
Russia’s ‘Soviet Union Lite’
Russia is attempting to recapture the power of the former Soviet Union. Pavel Sviridov, a Russian futurist, believes that, “The nightmare for the US, when it had to confront the vast empire of the Soviet Union for a century, will repeat.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly called the collapse of the Soviet empire the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”
Russia’s incursion into Ukraine’s Crimea region has become a focal point in the conflict between Russia and the West. It reminds us of the superpower rivalries of the Cold War. Today, Russia is forcefully re-establishing its sphere of influence over the Russian-speaking areas of the former Soviet Union, under the pretext of “protecting” Russian passport-holders. A CNN commentator believes that Vladimir Putin’s ultimate plan, “is to recreate some kind of ‘Soviet Union lite’, a ring of countries under Moscow’s control, with the goal of boosting Russia’s geopolitical standing.”
Russia Fills a Middle East Vacuum
Moscow has renewed its drive to extend its influence in the Middle East as US influence declines. Egypt and Iraq, for example, have long been regarded as being within the American sphere of influence. Russia secured a $4.3 billion arms deal with Iraq in October 2012, which included jet fighters, anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. Iraq and Russia have signed a $1 billion arms-deal package which includes an air-defense system, tanks, infantry weapons, war planes and helicopter gunships. One US military expert believes that pressure from Iran has had an influence on Iraq arming itself with Russian weapons, as part of Tehran’s policy “of strengthening Russian influence in the region through the Iran-Iraq-Syria axis.”
Russia and Iran
Iran has plans for building 20 nuclear plants as part of the final nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany). Included in this plan, four of these nuclear facilities, which will cost tens of billions of dollars, would be constructed in cooperation with Russia.
Although Russia and the US often hold different positions about what Iran needs to do to prevent development of an Iranian nuclear weapons capability, Russia has, until now, cooperated with the United States and other Western nations in the P5+1 talks, and has recognized the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the region. However, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister said recently that Russia may change its stance in the Iranian nuclear talks, after the US and the European Union announced sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.
As tensions between the US and Iran have escalated over the past few years, Iran has looked toward Russia and China as possible allies. Recently, Iranian President Rouhani and Russian President Putin agreed to the expansion of ties between Tehran and Moscow. In February 2014, the foreign ministers of the two countries discussed expanding economic cooperation between Iran and Russia, and reviewed the latest developments in the Middle East, especially in Syria.
Russia and Syria
Shortly after the beginning of the conflict in Syria, Russia chose to strongly support Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, and promised to veto any United Nations sanctions against the Syrian government. Russian arms supplies to Syria’s embattled regime, including sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles, play a vital role in keeping President Assad in power.
Russia and the Saudis
Tensions between Russia and Saudi Arabia have increased recently over Saudi financing Islamist terrorists in Russia. Russia has also accused the Saudis of planning to arm Syrian rebels with more advanced weaponry. At the same time, Saudi Arabia has been furious over Russia’s continued support for Iran and Syria. Saudi Arabia is prepared to “go nuclear”, to become what they consider to be the only real Islamic power with nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia has been moving forward for years now, with a secret nuclear weapons program, with the assistance of France and Israel.
Kings of the North and South
In Daniel 11:36-45, a king will arise during a time of tribulation, “and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god.” Paul quotes this passage in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, and confirms for us that this is clearly a reference to the Antichrist. “At the time of the end” the Antichrist will hear of an invasion coming from the King of the South.
And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. (Daniel 11:40-43)
It could well be that, when the Antichrist gathers his forces to destroy the Jews and Christians during the Great Tribulation, the nations of the world will see an opportunity to rebel against him. The Antichrist responds by invading “the Beautiful Land”, and goes forth to conquer the whole area, except for Jordan (Edom, Moab and Ammon).
But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. (Daniel 11:44-45)
Just as he seems to be completely victorious, the Antichrist hears “rumors from the East and from the North” that deeply disturb him. He retreats with his armies to the area “between the seas” where “he will come to his end.” The geographical description here, of a location between the seas, likely corresponds to the Valley of Armageddon.
Armageddon, Gog and Magog
Gershon Salomon, leader of the Temple Mount Faithful in Israel, announced in his newsletter that he expects the next conflict between the Arabs and Israel to be the same as the battle between Gog and Magog in Ezekiel and Zechariah:
I consider it my duty to warn my people and all the friends of Israel that a terrible war, the most terrible war of all the seven wars of Israel, is going to be perpetrated in this land against the people of Israel as a direct result of these terrible agreements and the giving away to the enemies of G-d our Holy Temple Mount and the most holy and important Biblical areas of Israel … According to the prophetic plans of G-d these areas must be, and will be, even more so than in the past, the land of G-d and the people of Israel to carry the great mission in the end-times … We read in the prophetic Scriptures of Ezekiel and Zechariah about the terrible Gog and Magog war which is going to come on the people of Israel in the end-times, in the time of the redemption. When we see these terrible, critical events in Israel we can understand why, in this time of redemption, this terrible war of Gog and Magog is going to take place … This war will not be an easy time for Israel … but it will be the last war of redemption of the people of Israel. This will be the war when the Messiah, Mashiach ben David, will appear and again be the eternal King of Israel.
Russia and Iran Expand Military Cooperation
Russia and Iran will be allied against Israel at the Battle of Armageddon. In October 2013, DEBKAfile reported that Moscow and Tehran had laid the groundwork for the beginning of a series of agreements upgrading their military ties to unprecedented levels. Iran was “deliberately accentuating those ties”, according to the article, “as a message to the Western powers that if they give the Islamic Republic a hard time over its nuclear program, it will go all the way to a full-dress defense pact with Russia.”
The report continued, “Tehran has put in special requests for massive Russian technological assistance for upgrading its missile industry by extending the range of their ballistic missiles and improving their precision. The Iranians also see a chance to renovate their aging air force and have applied for Russian fighters, interceptors, transports and refueling planes as well as training facilities for air force flight crews.” This expansion of military cooperation between Russia and Iran has continued to this day.
A Russian deal to supply S-300 interceptor missiles to Iran was canceled in November 2013, after Israel and other Western nations pressured Moscow. Iran immediately made plans to complete its own version of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system, the more powerful Bavar-373, by 2015.
Ezekiel and the Great Supper
Ezekiel 38 and 39 contain an in-depth account of the Battle of Armageddon. A comparison between a verse from the Old Testament and another from the New Testament confirm that the Gog and Magog battle in Ezekiel is the Battle of Armageddon, the final battle marking the end of human government on earth. Both Ezekiel 39:17-20 and Revelation 19:17-20 contain almost identical wording about calling the birds of the air and the beasts of the field to come to the “great supper of our God” where they will “eat the flesh of kings, captains and mighty men.”
“Prince of Rosh” will Lead Nations to Armageddon
Let’s look once again at the nations prophesied to participate in the Battle of Gog and Magog, also known as the Battle of Armageddon.
Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you. (Ezekiel 38:1-6, NKJV)
The New King James Version of the Bible, like many of the newer translations, includes the “prince of Rosh” when describing those who will lead the nations of the world against Israel at Armageddon. Of course, this is referring to Russia. This prophecy clearly states that two of the key nations involved in the invasion of Israel will be Russia (Rosh) and Iran (Persia).
In the Syrian crisis, the United States was hoping to topple Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Russia, Syria and Iran prevented Assad’s expulsion. The United States lost, and the alliance between Syria, Iraq, Iran and Russia became stronger. Assad still remains in power. The coalition, which Satan is devising to destroy Israel, is being formed right now. However, in the end, God will wipe out those who attempt to destroy Israel.
“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:3)
“And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 38:16)
As we compare these prophecies to current events, we already see the sides forming for the culminating battle. It is the final battle when the governments of men will be set aside, and Jesus Christ will be crowned “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
It is the Battle of Armageddon!